During the State of the State address Tuesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom boosted the “California way” as he lauded the state’s efforts in education, the pandemic and social equality.

Speaking in front of lawmakers for the first time in two years, Newsom spoke about how authoritarianism abroad, and domestically, has to be combated. He segued into rising gas prices, hinting at the much discussed oil import ban by President Joe Biden. Newsom said he would work with lawmakers to put money back in the pockets of Californians as they weather steep costs at the gas pump.

That help, however, won’t come from increases in drilling.

What You Need To Know

  • Newsom called out the hold of "petro-dictators" on the oil supply and the importance of moving away from fossil fuels

  • He also said he'll work with lawmakers to put money in the pockets of Californians hurt by high gas prices

  • He shut the door on expanding oil drilling in the state

  • Up for reelection, Newsom did not offer a detailed list of policies he'll push for, though he revisited his plans to expand health care to undocumented residents 

“We need to be fighting polluters, not bolstering them,” Newsom said.

He mentioned advances in electric vehicles as a direct result of California policies, enabling the state and the nation to gird against the influence of “petro-dictators.”

Newsom didn’t mention how the state would pay for gas rebates or any related relief. He didn’t mention debt or what California will do to make certain employers don’t see higher employment insurance costs. Nor did he linger on crime, quickly running over the state’s commitment to instituting the kind of systemic change that can promise enduring results. 

The governor focused on education, health care and the massive drop in unemployment numbers. He made detailed points about California’s progress in certain educational programs in the nearly 20 minute speech. He pointed to universal kindergarten, a popular, expensive program. And he mentioned the importance of programs before and after school and nutritious meals for students.

Health care, a major campaign promise, was a key touchstone. Newsom repeated his plans to push coverage for all Californians, even undocumented immigrants.

Newsom also made frequent reference to other states that don’t hold what he called California’s values, like Texas and Florida, even jabbing them for less robust support of a woman’s right to choose. 

Newsom’s speech repeatedly singled out California as a national leader in important social and economic issues, highlighting the state’s importance as a pioneer in the fight against climate change. 

Still, the governor's speech shared scant details of what he would push for in his election year, instead focusing on policies already in the works, or what the state did to support residents during the pandemic. 

He also hit on homelessness, a deeply stirring topic for most Californians as the state has struggled with increases attributed to mental health problems, addiction, rising housing costs and challenges with building affordable housing.

“We know that government cannot be the entire solution. But we know government has always been part of the solution,” he said.

Newsom, facing reelection, hit on the vast spending the state has green lit over the pandemic, giving struggling workers a hand up.

The governor's popularity took a hit during the pandemic, and while it’s not what it was early in his term, voters have warmed some since the dip before the recall victory last year.

But economic woes may linger for the globe as world events threaten to damage financial markets as a growing list of countries decide to end dealings with Russian oil. Damage to global markets is sure to impact California, which has benefited in recent years from huge profits in the market.

Newsom ended the speech by listing the state’s willingness to accept immigrants and people of all backgrounds to “strive, to seek, to find, to not yield. All into the fight for a better California.”